Hurricane Harvey Recovery

Check Presentation for Hurricane Harvey First Responders

Tuesday, December 19 – The Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr. (St. Martin’s) and the Rev. Dr. Clay Lein (St. John the Divine) presented checks to first responders and their families who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. The checks were made possible by donations received from generous parishioners and funds raised during the Concert for Harvey Relief that was headlined by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band and also featured Yolanda Adams and Christopher Cross.


Update on St. Martin’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Efforts

We are #HoustonStrong! To date, St. Martin’s efforts have included:
• Approximately 30 parishioners and guests attended the Harvey panel discussion with a certified public accountant and experts in insurance and legal issues
• More than 60 people received meals during the Harvey potluck dinner (more than 30 volunteers made food and donated paper goods)
• Working with 115 families
• More than 110 parishioners have made meals, done laundry acted as prayer partners and served as family liaisons
• 310 parishioners have gone out to 48 Houston area work sites and homes to help with cleaning and remediation
• Working with our friends at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Holy Spirit Episcopal Church and St. Thomas Episcopal Church
• Clean-up teams also went to help at homes in Baytown, Katy and Friendswood
• Donations of more than 11,500 items were made to 11 partner agencies, including food, hygiene and baby items, cleaning supplies, etc.
• Nearly 250 parishioners have donated to the Harvey Relief Fund
• Classes and support groups are being offered through the Hope and Healing Center & Institute to help anyone affected
• Work crews were hosted from Gateway Church (Austin), Church of the Incarnation (Dallas), St. Mary’s on the Highlands Church (Birmingham, Alabama) and a group of women from New Orleans; more crews are scheduled to arrive from across the country (Atlanta, Georgia, and Greenwich, Connecticut)
Updated 10/18/17

Thank You St. Martin’s – In Their Words

“Thank you all so very much. There really are no words to adequately express our gratitude. The supplies you gave us came at the perfect time – we have been feverishly packing the surviving contents of our home, and the movers come on Tuesday morning! The builders are busy restoring our home. Your supplies were so appreciated. We are accustomed to being the volunteers, not the recipients. You all were such a blessing to us.”

With love and gratitude,
Carole and John Moore

“I just wanted to share with you what some St. Martin’s families have done for us. Chris and Jennifer Van Arsdel were on the phone with us by 6 a.m. as our house was flooding and they – along with Sarah Almy – were waiting for us as we were rescued by airboat from a second story window 4 1/2 hours later.  My husband, John, and I stayed with the Van Arsdels for a week and they walked us through the initial steps with FEMA, the insurance companies, the restoration company, etc.  When my brother and sister-in-law, Skip and Shirley Allen, were finally able to get back to Houston, we moved in with them and they housed us for three weeks and assisted in many of the same ways that the Van Arsdels did.  Since we had 7 feet of water in our house, clean up was a monumental job. Along with the Van Arsdels and Sarah, so many other members of St. Martin’s and Christian Life Study (CLS) immediately answered our request for help – Ann Wilson, Art and Barbara Donnelly, Jana Willibey, Cynthia and Al Partlow, Catey Carter, Sharon Cantrell, Laurie Horner (with her son John Cameron and two of his friends from St. Thomas), Janet Hoover, Jennifer Curry, Blair Painter, Carla Roberts, Andrea and Bob Crawmer and their son Drew, and Mary Majors Payne.  Thanks to them we were able to salvage some things from the house, each person taking home silver, dishes, clothes and/or linens to be washed, lamps to be rewired and items to be dry cleaned. We had arranged for movers to take items from the upstairs bedrooms for storage but with my “Harvey Brain” I forgot about packing for the movers. Betty Beathard, Sue and Bill Kimbrell, Susan Phelps, Susan Hewitt, along with the Van Arsdels, Ann Wilson and Sarah Almy, immediately went into action and had everything ready for the movers. Susan Phelps also brought two huge trays of sandwiches, passing out extras to grateful flooded-out neighbors and workers. When the incision from John’s cancer surgery (shortly before the flood) came open, Suzanna Kane, a nurse, made “house calls” to help me learn how to daily pack the open wound.

Ann Wilson and the Donnellys stored the salvaged items until we were able to move into an apartment, at which point Sande Lyman, Delores Roberts, Carol Eidman, Sharon Cantrall and Kim Irwin helped to pack everything for our small apartment or storage unit. We lost both of our cars, but Paula and Frank Gay loaned us one of theirs until we were able to purchase a new car. And Paula, along with a childhood friend of mine, unpacked and set up the kitchen in our new apartment. Sarah Almy and Jan Shrader worked tirelessly to save some treasured family photos and artwork, and Jan did an amazing job of restoring the portraits of our two children.  And fellow CLS leader Jana Willibey did an incredible job of documenting our losses for the insurance company, estimating replacement or restoration costs, and arranging furniture in our new apartment. Amazing!!  I don’t know where we would be without all those helping hands and the prayer support of so many others.  Thanks be to God.”

Barbara McMahon

“A meal calendar was set up for 60 families from Nottingham Forest, Ashford Forest and Yorkshire (Memorial and Kirkwood area). We had been providing meals for two weeks – three times a week, then moved to providing meals two times per week. We received lots of positive feedback so we really want to keep it going. Families are so busy with demo, remodeling, FEMA and making big decisions (in displaced locations and all the while not even knowing how much money they will get back). Many families are living in a Home2Suites, garage apartments (with just a sink and refrigerator), in trailers on their driveway and sleep in their houses upstairs at night, or in friends’ bedrooms. Figuring out what is for dinner is at the bottom of their lists if they can even cook at all. In order for us to realistically keep the meal calendar going though, we decided to “adopt” a family and provide a meal one time per week. Your donation will allow us to keep it going. My goal is for us to continue to provide meals until the end of the year because the repairs and remodels will be months before their houses are habitable. Thank you so much for your contribution. A good meal is really what is needed right now!”

Jennifer Whalen

St. Martin’s recently hosted a team of volunteers from Barrington, Illinois, who came to work with several families affected by Hurricane Harvey. The group not only helped rebuild the home of Jesse and Missouri, but also worked at two other homes in the Houston area – replacing studs, insulating and dry walling as much as they could. Click the link below to read their blog and learn about how they made a difference in the lives of Houstonians. Thank you Barrington Regional Hurricane Relief!

A Prayer in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Almighty God, the King Eternal, Whose Light Divides the Day from the Night, and in Whose mighty hands all creation exists, be with us now in the hour of our need. As the winds and waters of Hurricane Harvey subside, be made known to us. Calm our fears, strengthen our bodies, give peace to our minds, give hope and Your presence to our hearts and souls. Protect us from anxiety, confusion and despair, and give us instead Your Holy Spirit that we may truly be the Light of Christ to those You send our way. As we rest, may we do so deeply; as we serve, may we do so heartily; as we pray – may we listen to Your voice that we may know and do Your will. This we ask in the name of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Indeed, O God, make speed to save us, O Lord, make haste to help us. Amen.